A: YOUR SAFETY IS MOST IMPORTANT. DO NOT PARTICIPATE IF YOU ARE UNCOMFORTABLE OR FEEL THREATENED IN THESE PLACES. BE AWARE, BE SAFE. STAY WARM. Seriously, stay warm.
Q: What am I supposed to do?
A: Be present. This isn’t about a specific task or ritual, it’s about engaging those around you with integrity and good will. Baltimore Presence relies on a positive perspective of human nature, along the lines of a Martin Luther King, Jr observation – “I am convinced that men hate each other because they fear each other. They fear each other because they don’t know each other, and they don’t know each other because they don’t communicate with each other, and they don’t communicate with each other because they are separated from each other.” (Cornell College address, 1962). This is about taking that first step to remove separation. Meet people, share concerns, have conversations. Some will just be present. Some will pray. Some will light candles. Some will scream. If you think of great ideas, share them and act on them. This is intentionally “grass-roots” and “organic.” There is no leader, there is no script. Be excellent to each other.
Q: Why 2pm?
A: Originally, the idea was to do this at noon. A number of people expressed concerns about conflicts. No time is perfect for everyone. 2pm is daylight, warm(er), and well, that’s what we went with. See you somewhere at 2pm.
Q: Why not 7pm? #Sacred7 does 7pm.
A: Baltimore Presence is about the whole city, #Sacred7 is about an individual. We don’t want to take away from that time.
Q: Is this Baltimore Ceasefire 365?
A: No, but we hope to play well with others (particularly Baltimore Ceasefire 365), and promise not to run with scissors.
Q: But, there’s a Ravens game happening that day.
A: Yes, the internet machine says 4:25pm. Can you squeeze this in? Does anyone know anyone affiliated with the Ravens organization? Perhaps a coordinated moment at the stadium? (One can hope…)
Q: Why isn’t there a different location for each homicide?
A: Some incidents involve multiple homicides, and locations at adjacent addresses are consolidated. We’ve tried to select locations that are reasonably proximate to events, but still respectful of those affected, safe for participants, visible, and well-lit.
Q: Why are so many of the addresses intersections?
A: Please respect private property, neighbors, and safety for everyone. Stay in public space, don’t block traffic or interfere with pedestrians. If you have concerns or suggestions about specific locations, please let us know. There will be new locations added as additional information becomes available. Please check back with this site for updated information right up until December 31st.
Q: Where did you get the data?
A: Data is collected primarily from the Baltimore Sun Homicides List and Baltimore City Open Data set.
Q: I found an error
A: Please let us know.
Q: I know of an organization that you don’t have on the Work the Issues page.
A: Please let us know.
Q: Why aren’t you doing this on Facebook? Pinterest? Eventbrite? Squarespace? SquareFacePinBright?
A: It’s not their business if you participate. You don’t have to sign up, log in, register, agree to terms of service, or provide DNA or fingerprints to Be Present. This is an offline social project. It’s decentralized and chaotic. If you are on those things and want to use those things to do what you think is important to Be Present, please do. If you want to use the RSVP function here, great. If not, great. Be Present on YOUR terms.
Q: But you’re using Twitter, right?
A: Right. OUR choice.
Q: What happens after December 31st?
A: This site will convert to facilitate discussion among those that participated and the rest of the city. If you come up with an interesting idea or suggestion while you are present, please bring it back. If there’s something actionable, please share with others and do what you can to make the change the city needs.